A few weeks ago, I received an unusual email. The local FOX television affiliate was looking for someone to discuss dream interpretation on the air. It turns out that one of the anchors had been having intense, recurring dreams that he couldn’t understand. When he shared this dream with colleagues in the newsroom, several of them also admitted to having frequent intense dreams. So they asked a producer to find someone to come on the show and help them interpret their dreams, and somehow they found me.
Doing live TV isn’t exactly my thing, and the idea made me pretty nervous. In addition, dream interpretation isn’t exactly media-genic. It’s a slow, careful process of deepening into the image. When it’s going well, working with a dream feels as though I have entered the image, and it has entered me. Being truly present to a dream feels a bit like walking into a florists shop — the heady scents waft over you, and you are struck by all the colors. It often takes awhile to let the images shift around me before I have a sense of the questions I might want to ask.
And of course, a thorough dream interpretation involves a nuanced exploration of what was happening in the dreamer’s life when he or she had the dream, as well as what the individual dream images might mean to the dreamer. Not exactly the stuff of snappy morning television.
In fact, my segment came after a bit on the recent royal wedding, and before a segment on bathing suit fashion trends to check out this summer. Hmmm.
In spite of the fact that I knew it would be difficult to translate a genuine dream interpretation process into a morning television format, there were two reasons why I thought it was important to say yes to this odd opportunity. First, my friends and I had recently launched our own podcast called This Jungian Life. Each week, we spend time talking about a different topic using a Jungian lens, and then during the second half of each episode, we explore a listener’s dream. I thought that going on news show would be a perfect opportunity to let people interested in dream interpretation know about our podcast. Since we welcome people to submit their dreams for possible inclusion on the podcast, I figured viewers would be grateful to know that such an opportunity existed.
The second reason I decided to say yes is because I believe in the importance of the inner life. We all have one whether we pay attention to it or not. Our modern life does little to encourage us to value the goings on in our deep interior. I believe that many of us are hungry for more contact with our own depths, but we often don’t know how to go about making such a connection with that part of ourselves. Dreams are an important way to be in touch with our inner landscape, and most of us know this intuitively. It’s hard not to be fascinated by dreams. They can be strange. They can haunt us. They can shake us to our core. And they come from us.
That morning in studio, in the green room, and on the set, numerous people found me and pulled me aside. “I never see faces in my dreams,” a camera man told me. “What does that mean?” “My whole life, I’ve had dreams of violent tornadoes,” a production assistant shared. Even at the local TV station, amid the rush of a live TV show, people came to find me. They stopped what they were doing to ask me what their dreams meant. They were hungry to attend to their dreams. We need contact with our own interior — even during the morning news.
I’ll leave you with a clip.